The Poetics of American Song Lyrics by Pence, Charlotte Pence, CharlotteThe Poetics of American Song Lyrics by Pence, Charlotte Pence, Charlotte

The Poetics of American Song Lyrics

EditorPence, Charlotte Pence, Charlotte

Paperback | January 1, 2012

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The Poetics of American Song Lyrics is the first collection of academic essays that regards songs as literature and that identifies intersections between the literary histories of poems and songs. The essays by well-known poets and scholars including Pulitzer Prize winner Claudia Emerson, Peter Guralnick, Adam Bradley, David Kirby, Kevin Young, and many others, locate points of synthesis and separation so as to better understand both genres and their crafts. The essayists share a desire to write on lyrics in a way that moves beyond sociological, historical, and autobiographical approaches and explicates songs in relation to poetics. Unique to this volume, the essays focus not on a single genre but on folk, rap, hip hop, country, rock, indie, soul, and blues.

The first section of the book provides a variety of perspectives on the poetic history and techniques within songs and poems, and the second section focuses on a few prominent American songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Michael Stipe. Through conversational yet in-depth analyses of songs, the essays discuss sonnet forms, dramatic monologues, Modernism, ballads, blues poems, confessionalism, Language poetry, Keatsian odes, unreliable narrators, personas, poetic sequences, rhythm, rhyme, transcription methods, the writing process, and more. While the strategies of explication differ from essay to essay, the nexus of each piece is an unveiling of the poetic history and poetic techniques within songs.

Charlotte Pence of Knoxville, Tennessee, is the author of The Writer's Path: Creative Exercises for Meaningful Essays. She is also the winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition for her poetry chapbook The Branches, the Axe, the Missing.



Title:The Poetics of American Song LyricsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:312 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:January 1, 2012Publisher:University Press of MississippiLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1617031917

ISBN - 13:9781617031915

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Table of Contents

Contents





Introduction xi





Part One. Poetic History and Techniques within Poems and Songs





3 The Day Johnny Cash Died / Lamar Alexander





6 Reduced to Rhyme: On Contemporary Doggerel / David Caplan





26 The Sonnet Within the Song: Country Lyrics and the Shakespearean Sonnet

Structure / Charlotte Pence





35 Rap Poetry 101 / Adam Bradley





43 It Don't Mean a Thing: The Blues Mask of Modernism / Kevin Young





75 Gangsta Rap's Heroic Substrata: A Survey of the Evidence / John Paul Hampstead





90 At the Crossroads: The Intersection of Poetry and the Blues /

Keith Flynn





106 Country Music Lyrics: Is There Poetry in Those Twangy Rhymes? /

Jill Jones





122 Similarities and Differences between Song Lyrics and Poetry / Pat Pattison





134 Words and Music: Three Stories / Wyn Cooper





Part Two. Analysis of Twentieth-Century Songwriters





145 The Triumph of Icarus: Sam Cooke and the Creative Spirit / Peter Guralnick





158 The Joe Blow Version / David Kirby





169 A Nobel for Dylan? / Gordon Ball





180 Lyric Impression, Muscle Memory, Emily, and the Jack of Hearts / Claudia Emerson





186 Don Khan and Truck-Driving Wives: Dylan's Fluctuating Lyrics / Ben Yagoda





193 Thoughts on "Me and Bobby McGee" and the Oral and Literary Traditions /

David Daniel





199 The Soup That Could Change the World / Beth Ann Fennelly





203 Laughing in Tune: R.E.M. and the Post-Confessional Lyric / Jeffrey Roessner





212 Sweetness Follows: Michael Stipe, John Keats, and the

Consolations of Time / Eric Reimer





225 Sweeping Up the Jokers: Leonard Cohen's "The Stranger Song" / Brian Howe





232 Facing the Music: The Poetics of Bruce Springsteen / Robert P. McParland





243 Coming into Your Town: Okkervil River's "Black" / Stephen M. Deusner





253 Still Holding at the Seams: Magnolia Electric Co.'s Josephine and the Contemporary

Poetic Sequence / Jesse Graves





261 Not to Oppose Evil: Johnny Cash's Bad Luck Wind / Tony Tost





Glossary





Acknowledgments





Contributors





Index